Waterford United advanced to the Promotion/Relegation play-off against Dundalk after a 3-1 aggregate win against Longford Town at The RSC.
Peter Higgins opened the scoring in the 1-1 draw after nine minutes after Craig Hyland had parried Sean Maguire’s powerful strike.
Seamus Long saw red five minutes into the second half after a challenge on Austin Skelly before Longford grabbed a late consolation as Noel Haverty’s deflected cross from the right fell to Alan Kirby who fired past Packie Holden.
Longford Town made four changes from the first leg, with Michael Lee, Des Hope, Daniel Purdy and Austin Skelly coming into the starting line-up, while Waterford United kept faith with the team that won 2-0 last Saturday.
After a very nervy start for Waterford, with Longford having most of the early possession, the Blues struck a deadly early blow.
Longford’s early control, and succession of corners, were forgotten as Peter Keegan drilled a superb ball to the left wing to find Sean Maguire.
The young striker raced toward goal and forced Craig Hyland into a good save, but the ball dropped to the inrushing Peter Higgins to fire low across Hyland to increase the aggregate lead.
The early goal brought Waterford United back into the game and resulted in Gary Dempsey having a good chance but he headed over from 10-yards.
Longford began to control more of the game and had a good chance five minutes before half time but Haverty couldn’t steer his header past Holden.
Paul Phelan should have put the game beyond Longford in the first minute of the second half.
Sean Maguire, Gary Dempsey and Peter Keegan broke clear with the latter supplying Phelan but he somehow missed from close range.
Referee Keith Callanan was out with the red card four minutes later as Seamus Long was shown a straight red card for a foul on Austin Skelly – the third time Callanan has sent the defender off.
Longford continued to push and had a great chance to get back into the game as Thomas Crawley whipped in a cross but Tony Griffiths failed to make contact with the inviting, left-wing cross.
Maguire continued to cause trouble, but midfielder Mark Salmon got back to make a great recovering tackle to prevent a chance on goal.
Dempsey fired over the bar from a speculative free kick before Town grabbed a late goal through Kirby.
Haverty crossed from the right, and although the ball took a deflection off Bermingham, Waterford-native Kirby was on hand to fire past Holden from close range.
And Haverty had another late chance from Kirby’s corner but his header went narrowly wide of the far post. Waterford now face Dundalk on Tuesday in the first leg of the play-off.
Waterford United: Packie Holden; Stephen Mulcahy, David Breen, Craig Burns, John Frost; Peter Higgins, Peter White (Ben Ryan 70), Gary Dempsey, Paul Phelan (Jack Doherty 92); Sean Maguire, Peter Keegan.
Longford Town: Craig Hyland; Noel Haverty, Des Hope, Willo McDonagh, Michael Lee; Robert Bayly, Mark Salmon, Keith Gillespie (Alan Kirby 68), Thomas Crawley; Austin Skelly (Tony Griffiths 68), Daniel Purdy(Karl Bermingham 60).